So, Israel. Is it a good thing? Was it a justifiable demand for a ‘homeland’ by a horribly persecuted people? Is it a land grab, dressed up in religious and ethnic cod history? Is it a cynical manipulation of a dream by U.K. colonial, later U.S. imperial, self-interests?
Or could it have been what Jewish socialist writer Isaac Deutchser called, a totsieg, a ‘victorious rush into the grave’ spearheaded by Zionists, determined to have Palestine no matter what the cost, be the terrible truth?
Of course, OF COURSE, by any standard even approaching decency the Jewish people should be able to live in security and safety. After what the world has done to them as a people, safety and security should be the bare minimum.
As it should be for every human being. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine.
Tragically, from its inception the ‘Israeli project’, the vaunted Jewish homeland that was to solve all Jewish problems, has been racist and colonial. Predicated on apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
Many, including many Jews, would argue Israel in its present state threatens not just the security and safety of the Palestinian people, but of the whole world.
If, as famous Israeli historian Ilan Pappe pointed out, ‘the Zionists understood from the beginning that the only way to establish a Zionist state was to cause the Palestinians to leave’, they must have understood the dangers.
‘Zionsm is a racist movement seeking capital to colonise land and exploit religion’ said Pappe.
Palestinans ‘leaving’ was always part of the story. As Zionism’s founding fathers Herzl, put it: ‘we shall endeavour to expel the poor population across the border unnoticed—the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly’.
The thing is most people – rich, poor or middling – don’t take kindly to being shoved off their land or out of their homes, however ‘discreetly’.
The Zionists tried to make out Palestine was a shithole, ‘a malarial swamp’ in Lloyd George’s words. That no one wanted. Early on in the project two rabbis were dispatched to Jerusalem to report on the lay of the land: ‘The bride is beautiful’ said the surprisingly truthful rabbis, ‘but she is married to another man’.
That man was Palestine. O well.
Plans to establish a home in a ‘land without a people, for a people without a land’, barged ahead.
Who cared that this vaunted ‘land without a people’ actually held one and a half million Palestinians on it?
That far from being a ‘malarial swamp’ it was fertile, with cities, farms, orchards, waterways, harbours, schools, markets, a functioning administration, and much loved by its people.
Enter the British.
Still in full colonial mode the Brits decided having Palestine under their control could be extremely useful. The Suez Canal was close by. It was bordered by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt.
In good old colonial divide and conquer mode, they threw their weight behind the Zionist movement now gathering members, and financial backers, throughout Europe and America.
When the British walked into Palestine, Zionists literally walked in alongside them.
Britain’s Governor General said: ‘our aim is to create a loyal little Jewish Ulster in Palestine. To ‘guard against a sea of hostile Arabism’.
The British government ‘gave’ Palestine to the Zionists, and heartily encouraged Jewish ‘ingathering’, while openly supporting, armed, and turning a blind eye to the vicious terrorist activities of Zionism’s infamous militias.
‘We have a strong presence on the ground here’ boasted one militia group, ‘the British cannot say no to us’.
Zionist communes were encouraged and financed, to buy up thousands of acres of Palestinian land and expel the farmers. Zionist militias did what they wanted to the Palestinians, while inward migration of Jewish peoples from Russia, Eastern Europe, Europe and America increased tenfold.
As Zionist terrorists and British soldiers bullied, harassed and belittled the Palestnians, a census of the entire territory was carried out, by the British, aided by Zionists who often entered Palestinian villages disguised as indigenous Arabs taking advantage of traditional Palestinian hospitality, which welcomed, and fed, strangers.
Every single Palestinian village was listed and mapped, the number of men who might resist, where the stores were kept down to the number of olives and apricots on the trees. Crucially how the village could be accessed and exited from.
When a Palestinian resistance movement rose up, distraught at the stealing of their land, the lack of civil rights, the blatant privileging of the Zionists, and an ever-increasing inward flow of Jewish migrants, the British, and their Zionst pals, were armed with a blueprint of every single village’s strengths and vulnerabilities.
The uprising was put down with extreme brutality.
By its end, three years later, all Palestinian men of fighting age had been wiped out. Thousands of Palestinians driven out, their land confiscated, their homes blown up, while Zionist militias roamed the streets triumphant.
When the ‘catastrophe’, the Naqba came with Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948, and the ejection of Palestinians, Palestinians were defenceless. Hundreds of thousands were forced into exile and refugee camps, carrying what they could on their backs. Their abandoned villages and orchards instantly taken over by the Zionists, or what was now the Israeli government. During the Naqba 530 villages were destroyed.
Then, as one commentator said, the Israelis were handed a ready-made State. The only difference workers noticed when they came into their offices the next day was that their Palestinian colleagues had been expelled. From their own country.
Having utilised their favourite colonisers trick of pitting an implanted group against the local people to further their own ends, the British buggered off, leaving an unfolding catastrophe behind them.
Just as they did in India. In Ireland. In Sri Lanka. In huge swathes of Africa where inequality, historic injustices and bitter racial divisions poison all life and all political institutions to this day.
Palestinian resistance, already fatally wounded by the British, was helpless as Zionist armed terrorist groups surrounded and torched entire villages, blew up Palestinian buildings, killed and displaced hundreds. Entire cities supposed to be under Palestinian control, were surrounded and bombed. All men of fighting age were removed to concentration camps.
As Zionist groups – now the Israeli army – grew ever stronger, attacking and taking over village after village, David Ben Gurion wrote: ‘in each attack a decisive blow should be struck. It should result in the destruction of homes and the removal of the population’.
Sound familiar? Gaza anyone? The West Bank? Silwan?
Zionism’s deadly history of violence against the Palestinian people hit a peak this past ten days as the Israeli army, armed, thanks to billion dollar yearly gifts, grants and loans from the US, and in furious revenge mode after an attack by Hamas, bombs home after home in Gaza, the biggest open prison in the world, where half the population is under fifteen years of age.
Who cares if some old granny, or a few terrified children are still in there? Blast away dear boy, blast away. This is Israel. We can do whatever we want to the Palestinians. The West has always said so.
Fire ahead, say the Americans. We’re monitoring the situation, say the Brits. We love Israel, says Ursula von der Leyen of the EU.
Sympathy for the Jewish People
The truth is, everyone in the world with a heartbeat sympathises with the Jewish people for seemingly endless pogroms, culminating in the most terrifying pogrom of all, the Holocaust, where six million completely innocent people were burnt, shot, gassed, tortured to death.
But the Holocaust happened in Germany. In Europe. Almost every country in Europe collaborated with the Nazis in ‘exterminating’ – that terrible word – the Jewish people.
France, Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium, the Channel Islands, Norway, Albania, Romania, Yugoslavia, Latvia, just to name a few.
Businesses that collaborated include Coca Cola, Ford Motor Company, and IBM.
American companies in Germany included General Motors, Standard Oil, IT&T, Singer, International Harvester, Eastman Kodak, Gillette, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Westinghouse, and United Fruit.
Hollywood studios ‘adjusted’ films to Nazi tastes.
Financial operations were facilitated by banks such as the Bank for International Settlements, Chase and Morgan, and Union Banking Corporation
And of course delightful German outfits like IG Farben that produced ‘Zyklon B’, the infamous insecticide used by the Nazis to gas millions of Jewish people, communists, socialists, Romanies, jazz players, gays, and ‘undesirables’.
The Allies, horrified at what they’d found in the concentration camps, vowed to destroy IG Farben after the War.
But the top twenty-three directors tried at Nuremberg for their involvement in developing the science behind the extermination of millions of human beings, were given risible sentences of two, three or six years.
And, oops, before you could say ‘O what a lovely Holocaust’ IG Farben was back in production.
No real recompense was ever made to the Jewish people. A handful of Nazi top dogs were topped. Others fled to America, North and South or slid back into their old jobs as ‘captains of industry’. As for art ‘to this day, some tens of thousands of artworks stolen by the Nazi’s have still not been located.’ Never mind returned.
Nobody really paid the price for the horrors perpetrated. Deadly nerve gases magically became pesticides. Companies like IG Farben became vast international corporations gifting humanity: .nerve gases, pesticides, insecticides, heroin, Zyklon B, Lindane, DDT, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, Round Up, and GM.
Hey ho. Business is business.
Instead of truly understanding why and how such hatred had exploded, instead of truly recompensing victims, the idea of a Jewish homeland, of exporting the problem to ‘somewhere else’ was promoted ever more vigorously, gaining mythic status.
Far easier to promote Valhalla on someone else’s land than deal with European Nazism.
Exporting the problem to Palestine, which had not been implicated in the torture of a single Jew, never mind the murder of six million Jews in the most horrific ways possible, of stealing the Palestinians land, of getting rid of them by whatever means you could get away with, i,e, anything, was more heavily promoted than ever, with America, now ‘leader of the Free World’, the Zionists new best friend.
America was more or less happy to play along with Zionism. When Israel won the Six Day War in 1967 – against three Arab nations – they became genuinely enthusiastic. As one American Senator (Jesse Helms, 1995)put it, ‘Israel is the equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without Israel promoting its and America’s common interests, we would be badly off indeed.’
Did somebody say the land on which Israel, Britain and America had built this ‘aircraft carrier’, this militaristic, ethnocentric, ethnic cleansing, colony, actually belonged to the Palestinian people?
Em, no. O well.
Big players play while little people, very often brown or black people, get squished.
Funnily enough, another REALLY big player in torturing the Jewsh people, the Catholic Church, criminally responsible for placing a target on Jewish people’s backs for two thousand years – as ‘THE PEOPLE WHO KILLED JESUS!’ – seem to get a free pass.
This vicious and untruthful slur was only rescinded by the Church in 1960!
‘A Sorry about that lads’ kind of apology issued forth: ‘yeah shure thousands of ye were murdered and boiled alive for killing yer man when we all knew it was actually the Romans what done it, but no hard feelings, right?’
Ah yes Catholicism – such a lovely religion.
Land of Milk and Honey?
So folks is Israel a land of milk and honey, or a catastrophe? A homeland for Jewish people built on a Palestinian graveyard? An aircraft carrier for the U.S.? Or a Western ‘dagger’ plunged into the Middle East?
Who knows where Israeli/Zionist nationalism – fueled by fear, terror, propaganda, militarism and the cynical manipulations of the Big Powers, and a bad conscience – will lead next.
All out war in the Middle East?
All out war in the world?
In the meantime, one can only pray for Gaza. For Palestine. For the ordinary people of Israel not supporting the madness.
For us all.
Feature Image: The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem. Frank Armstrong, 2003.